I am here to help YOU with YOUR VOICE!

  • Enjoy and be sure to ask lots of questions in my comment box below or any of the other posts or pages
  • Oh, yes…do tell your friends and family, Tweet me and have FUN!
  • Remember, “you deserve to be heard!”
{ 71 comments… add one }
  • Jo ,

    I really struggle with my nerves – I doubt my ability and get very nervous when i sing in public. My throat gets tight and then i sound flat, wobbly knees, shaking hands, feeling panicky etc..
    I really want to get over this – to find my inner diva!!
    Can you help
    I love your videos and i’m glad you have re-appeared

  • Joy ,


    So good to hear from you. I know what you mean about nerves and I will create a new blog post just to answer your question. Look for it in the next couple of days.

    And thanks so much. I truly appreciate your input.

    Oh, and did you sign up for the newsletter yet? I just started that new feature, so a lot of the work I do now will be on this blog, so thatโ€™s the best place to hang out.

    Thanks again,
    P.S. I finished the article. “Nervous Singing – Nervous Shakes”

  • jo ,

    Nervous Jo here again – still nervous but trying to be braver.
    I would like to know if and when I will be able to sing with some vibrato – I don’t have any.
    I listen to others who sound wonderful and I want one!!!
    Any tips or ideas

  • Joy ,

    Good to hear that you like the article. I will keep posting for everyone. And remember, if you want to subscribe to my RSS feed or get other updates, you can do that easily by clicking on the RSS link or Twitter icon….then there is the email route. Enjoy!

  • Joy ,

    I appreciate your comments and the forwarding to your old room mate. Very nice of you. Remember, you can get my updates through the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter. Thanks again and come on back when you need a lift!

  • bobby ,

    joy, i’m so glad to have spotted you…i thought you were not doing this anymore. i’m learning vowel modifications, so if you have any resources to learn about this, that would be just wonderful.

  • Joy ,


    Yes, I’m still plugging away and hope to be doing more and more as my tech needs are taken care of by people who know more about coding. That will free my hands to help you and others. Vowel modifications. Please give me more specifics about exactly what you want to learn. Thanks.

  • Joy ,

    Glad to hear you like it enough to have bookmarked it and look forward to you coming back….

  • jo ,

    Hello Joy
    I would really like some tips on how and if I can develop a vibrato – I can’t seem to get one.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Jo,

    Your question is one that people ask a lot, so I am glad that you asked it. In fact, I will write a post about it because you asked your question here. Stay tuned for that post.

    Meanwhile, here is a very short answer:

    Vibrato happens naturally as you learn to balance your breath when you sing. Not sure what you๏ปฟ mean by the last part of your question. Volume doesn’t really have anything to do with vibrato. Breath control does though. Have you worked with my breathing exercises yet? Here is one of them to start with – The Dog Pant

    More soon in a post about vibrato.


  • Do you have to have a good voice to sing? Why do people have naturally good singing voices while others do not? Is it God-given? I think that people with good voices can sing even without any experience or lessons in singing. while others take all the courses and singing lessons in the world and still can not sound as good as the people that were born with the ideal voice.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Bunrith,

    Great questions and observations!

    Although I agree that some people can sing more easily and more beautifully than others, I have also come to realize that much of that “gift” also comes from what the person experienced in the womb, before they were born, and soon thereafter.

    Here are a few reasons I think this way now:

    Much of my work for the past few years has had to do with research from the scientific community about the impact of a pregnant woman’s voice on the baby developing inside of her, as well as the mother’s voice after the baby is born.

    We know that her voice shapes the way a baby begins to communicate.

    We also know that the music a mother plays during her pregnancy is recognized by the baby after birth, that pitch perception is given for language development reasons and that a baby responds more to a mother’s singing voice than her speaking voice

    There is a lot more about this fascinating topic that you might interest you and others, so stay posted here and watch for upcoming articles I am going to write about it.

    You have important things to say and I’d like to keep this conversation going with you.

    Thanks again,

  • bobby ,

    joy, i’ve just come to realize i never starting getting your emails with tips.
    can you look into it for me

    i’m registered. thanks

  • Joy ,

    Bobby, sorry about that. I’ve been redesigning my singbabysing site and have not posted to the subscriber list for awhile. So I truly appreciate your note here because now I am nearly finished with the other project and can get in gear here. If you don’t get anything in your email within a week, please let me know because I have also been having problems with the comments coming through here on the blog and am getting that fixed.


  • Bryany ,

    i’m Briony and i’m 18 years old. I noticed you had on your youtube account an email address and thought i would love to ask you a few things and for some help maybe.
    I personally think I can sing but some other people dont think I can. I really want to get to the best i can be to show people and make them shocked to hear me ๐Ÿ˜›
    I’ve only ever sung whilst trying to infront of a lady before and she said I had a good voice.
    I really hope you reply to me because i could really use your help ๐Ÿ™‚
    so heres my problem-
    When i sing i get my voice tired out
    my voice can go strong i just dont know how to excersise it
    my voice sounds better when i sing out of my chest and not my stomach
    im not sure how to sing with emphasism
    My voice gets to that weird sound when i cant go much further like ahhh eeeeeeahhh sort of thing lol ๐Ÿ˜›
    I also, When i watch your videos, I’m confused as to which goes where and how often to do things.
    I tried your mmm-orr excersise which i loved because it was doing it with me and i could follow along with out much talking.
    there is also a person who posted up himself playhing scales which i sing with saying ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah going upscale and down.
    these do help but i feel as if though im missing out on so much but simply can’t afford it.

    I want to be a solo recording artist but i havent been able to afford singing lessons ever.
    i have a natural vibrato and im not afraid to use my vocals.
    I wwas hopeing you could help me?
    maybe give me excersises to do every day to get to my best singing voice?
    I’m counting on this as a career because its something i love and could really use the help ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would be forever grateful ๐Ÿ™‚
    From Briony

  • Joy ,

    Hi Briony,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts and questions here. Let’s take one at a time.

    I personally think I can sing but some other people don’t think I can.

    I’m not sure who the “other people” are, but this is something that just about everyone experiences. I’ve written about this topic before, so go here to find out what you can do about other people’s opinions of your voice.

    When i sing i get my voice tired out
    my voice can go strong i just dont know how to excersise it
    my voice sounds better when i sing out of my chest and not my stomach
    im not sure how to sing with emphasism
    My voice gets to that weird sound when i cant go much further like ahhh eeeeeeahhh sort of thing lol

    I really appreciate the fact that you are so aware of your voice and what it feels like. Every one of your observations about your voice helps me to help you more, and the good news is that all of these things you describe can be changed!

    Good vocal technique, which can be learned, goes a long way in clearing up these issues with your voice.

    When i watch your videos, Iโ€™m confused as to which goes where and how often to do things.

    I tried your mmm-orr excersise which i loved because it was doing it with me and i could follow along with out much talking.

    I am so glad you mentioned both of these because the other day when I was helping another student I noticed that the way my videos are arranged here on this site (everything on one page with no explanations) I realized that I need to do more work to make it easier for people to follow them in a more logical sequence. And it helps me to know what works for people, so if more examples with scale patterns or breathing patterns helps people, then that is what I need to do.

    i feel as if though im missing out on so much but simply canโ€™t afford it

    Ah, yes, I know this feeling too. I grew in a very poor family (someday I’ll write a story about it) and no one helped me financially to get the vocal education I got. I worked to pay for lessons, even singing on street corners with a guitar case open so people could throw coins into it! We call that busking. One time I paid my teacher by bringing a scarf filled with coins to pay her for one lesson. I kept the scarf, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I recommend watching the Irish movie, ONCE. I had the privilege of meeting both of the stars of that movie and I think they have proven that money is not necessarily the issue.

    So, don’t ever let lack of money stop you! There are always ways to fulfill your goals. It starts with your mindset.

    I want to be a solo recording artist but i havent been able to afford singing lessons ever.

    As for your dream of becoming a recording artist. That is a big dream and big dreams take big efforts. I cannot say whether or not you can or will become a recording artist. There are many more issues involved in a singing career other than just the sound of your voice. Believe me, it is very complicated and it is not easy, but I would never be the one to discourage someone because I cannot know what will happen in the future.

    maybe give me excersises to do every day to get to my best singing voice?

    I have many many people wanting help from me, so it seems that I need to put together some exercises (activities) that are totally affordable for people who do not have a lot of money. I know the feeling of being poor and I know the feeling of knowing that I can still accomplish my goals by hard work and determination.

    So, Briony, here is what I want you to do because I want to help you as much as I can.

        1. Read the 2 articles I linked for you up above.
        2. Subscribe to my updates by putting your first name and email address in the box at the right hand side of the page, the one with the big green arrow
        3. Ask questions and make comments on the two linked article pages from above
        4. Keep doing the exercises that make sense to you
        5. And start doing the Dog Pant and the Slow Leaky Tire videos regularly
        6. Then do the Resonance 1&2 and the Projection 1&2 videos
        7. And most of all, be patient with me ๐Ÿ™‚ – it takes much thought and time to help you everyone in my SingingMastermind family!

    I hope that this will begin to help you a little more and thanks again for posting your questions and comments here.


  • Roxiie ,

    Hi, my name is Roxiie. My problem is I have a very nice voice and I sing well in the confinement of my room and close friends, but if I sing for the very first time, for a new person in my life- my voice shakes. I don’t realise that I’m nervous myself but later on they tell me that although they think my voice is good I shake too much. Please help me overcome this because I really feel like it’s holding me ten steps back ๐Ÿ™

  • Joy ,


    What you are describing is more common that you could imagine.

    It all has to do with mindset.

    So, here is what I would like you to do: read these 2 articles that I have written about this subject:

    1. Inside Voice Outside Voice
    2. Nervous Singing Nervous Shaking

    After you read them, put comments on those specific pages that tell me something about how you identify (or don’t) with what was written. This will help me to help you more because I’ll get to know you better.

    Thanks again and do not worry, this is something you can overcome!

  • Jared ,

    Hi Joy,
    I love your website and the work you put into helping othe people with your girft. I know it doesn’t come easy and that it takes a lot of your time, and I thank you for the inspiration you have given me with all your work. I’m a male tenor, and there is one question that really bugs me and though i’ve asked numberous people, nobody seams really sure with it. When i sing high notes, should my Adam’s Apple move up with my voice? I really want to perfect my high notes and be able to sing with that nice resonant tenor voice, but i don’t know what i should work on. I have found it is possible to sing high notes with and without the adam’s apple moving, (although i have a long way to go to get where i want to be) but which way is correct. i don’t want to strain my voice and i want as much freedom as possible to get the most out of my voice. Please give me your thoughts. your advice always helps me a lot. I thank you in advance.


  • Joy ,

    Hi Jared,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    It is my great privilege to help people with their voices and although it does take a great deal of time, I figure that I am investing in people in a way that makes the world a better place and that keeps me going. That and people like yourself who really care about their voices and appreciate the help.

    About your Adam’s Apple questions, I think that they are important and so I want to write an article for the site so that I can give more in-depth answers.

    Here’s the link to that article.

    Are you on my update list? If not, please take a moment to fill in the form at the top right side of the site with your first name and email address, and if you like, click on the Twitter icon to follow me there too. I usually post a Twitter message when I’ve written a new article.

    Thanks so much and I hope you will let other people know about my site if they want help with their voices too.

    All my best,

  • Stuart Wheeler ,

    Hello, I’m Stuart Wheeler and I’ve been singing on and off in choirs since high school. I’m probably one of the oldest customers here….let’s just say I remember first hand in ’59 when Alaska and Hawaii became States. Since childhood, I’ve educated myself informally about singing. I’m definitely an untrained baritone voice and since I’m not getting any younger, time’s getting short for me to get up to speed in terms of correct singing hygiene. I have no ambitions beyond singing in a choir unprofessionally. Which leads to this: My breathing is inadequate when singing; I have trouble hitting notes in the upper baritone range; I may have done some damage to my voice at times in the past and, I’m not one to sing solos even before a massive crowd of 4 or 5 people. Finally, what natural vibrato I sing with is not consistent within my vocal range. For definition purposes, natural vibrato is something that cannot be trained in or, forced. It emerges only after all the other aspects of proper singing hygiene are in their correct places. Yeah, it sounds old school but, my very first serious exposure to singing was classical or, opera. But my own personal preference is singing sacred music and hymns. To sum up, I would desire any assistance at least to improve on with what I have left, after these many years. And, any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!! SJW.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Stuart,

    Nice to have you visit the site and ask questions.

    From everything you have described to me, including your notes about vibrato, it seems to me that you already have the answer.

    What I mean is that you mentioned that your “breathing is inadequate when singing.” This is the cause of almost all problems in singing.

    What kind of breathing exercises do you do already? Are you aware of which direction your diaphragm is going (in or out) when you inhale and exhale?

    Tell me more about how you breath for singing and we’ll go from there.


  • Stuart Wheeler ,

    Thank you for promptly getting back to me which is more than what can be said for other professionals at least from where I sit here in Washington, DC. To be blunt with you, I know that when a person sings, the diaphragm is supposed to be doing the work of supporting the notes whether it’s in chest voice or, head voice. I know the theory of singing from the layman’s point of view; actually doing it is another story for me. Since I don’t publicly sing anywhere at present (aside from the shower or, in my residence), I have no reason to practice…as I said, I’m not singing in the choir presently. HOWEVER, I am seriously considering joining a church choir within the next 2 weeks or so…only to get a feel as to how well or how bad I am doing BEFORE things start in earnest in September for the season. Breathing on my back to the floor is fine; standing on my feet presents a major challenge of diaphragmatic breathing. I run out of air at mid phrases…always needing air to keep going. It is a struggle for me to hit notes even in my upper range not matter how I breathe…it’s a quick way for me to lose my voice if I don’t press things too hard. 30 minutes of singing is all I’m good for at once. I don’t know if I answered your question…physically I need to be in better shape even at my age of 58. When I breathe in, my chest expands and when I exhale, my chest deflates. Regardless of everything else, I would say that my breathing or lack thereof is critically first in priority. Maybe I’m too late at my age . I don’t know. I’m sorry about writing a book here, however, I’ve answered you the best of my ability. Thank you. [SJW]

  • Joy ,

    Glad to be of assistance.

    I’m going to give you a simple suggestion and then ask you to try it.

    Then I would like you to reply on this thread about what you observed about your voice or your breathing when you try it.

    Instead of thinking about the diaphragm or the chest when you breath, support your voice with the muscles below your belly button.

    I know it sound strange, but trust me, I can give you all the academic reasons why I am suggesting this, but that just takes up our time.

    Try it standing up. Forget about everything else except experiencing the joy of singing.

    Forget about the choir, forget about your age, forget about all the things that are stopping you from getting what you want with your voice.

    This is all about making a change in your singing mindset.

    After your try to feel the sheer joy of singing while letting the muscles below your belly button support your tone, check out the link on singing mindset and see if there is anything in any of those articles that help you.

    Thanks for your trust. I am here to help!

    P.S. And if you read any of those articles (or all of them) I’d sure appreciate any observations or comments that you might have on the pages that have the articles on them. Thanks again!

  • Stuart Wheeler ,

    Hello, Joy. This is only to confirm that I’ve read your answer a few minutes ago about forgetting everything as mentioned and sing for the “joy” of it. I shall do as you instructed and, I’ll get back to you in the not too distant future after reviewing “mindset”. Profuse thanks. Stuart.

  • Stuart Wheeler ,

    Hello, Joy. Today is June 7th as I write. I believe I’m ready to respond after 3 or 4 days of digesting your comments dated June 3rd as well as the singing mindset material along with the others. You are correct in stating to forget about everything which would steal from me the “wants” that I have in terms of singing and more importantly….dare I say “self gratification” or joy of singing. I need to share because of my emotional make up, I have sung alone and in a congregation where the music is soooo moooooving that it totally breaks me up and I start crying (and I mean crying with moans). The emotional impact hits me so hard that it is unavoidable and I can’t finish singing until I pull myself back together. An example of a song which would cause me to cry would be “You’ll Never Walk Alone” which Jerry Lewis would “attempt” to sing after his Labor Day Telethon which I’m sure you’re familiar with. I never get “goosebumps” over anything I sing per se….I will cry and cry instead if I’m impacted. Having said all that, what I got out of what you explained to me is I should care about anything which would interfere with singing, even people. If they like it, fine. If not, tough. Let the damn chips fall where they may in the light of that. As far as singing from below the belly button is concerned, yes, I’ve done it and I believe it provides better breath support as I sing however, it’s not automatic. It is a challenge in that it’s a new thing my body has to do but I’m sure with enough practice and time, I won’t have to even think about it after awhile. I kind of adopted a new philosophy about my singing: “Get out of the way….step back and allow the body to do it’s work in it’s job of singing.” At the same time, I MUST take a pro-active approach towards taking care of the voice, the larynx and the body which houses them both. Which needs no explaining. And so, where do I go from here? I’m asking basically, aside from reading and digesting further the material on your website, do you teach lessons through the internet and how much per session? I really like your down to earth “corny” approach to singing and to students despite your vast and professional expertise in voice pedagogy. I appreciate it and thank you. Stuart.

  • Stuart Wheeler ,

    I noticed an error in my last message. The following sentence above reads: “Having said all that, what I got out of what you explained to me is I should care about anything which would interfere with singing, even people. If they like it, fine. If not, tough.” It SHOULD read: “Having said all that, what I got out of what you explained to me is I should NOT care about anything which would interfere with singing, even people. If they like it, fine. If not, tough.” I’m sorry for the error. Stuart.

  • Joy ,

    No problem on the error. I understood what you meant. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Joy ,

    Hi Stuart,

    I did not see this comment until today, so sorry I didn’t answer sooner.

    This emotional response that you described is kind of great, I think. Most people are afraid to show how they feel so you can actually use the energy of that feeling to help your voice.

    Here’s how: When you feel the tears coming, breathe in slowly and deeply several times until the feelings start “lining up” with your breath. In other words, bring the emotional power of your feelings into your breath. Don’t fight the feelings or think that you have to “control” them or get rid of them. Use them to empower your singing breathing. Once you feel the emotions lining up with your slow steady breathing (using the below the belly button concept) then begin to let out a few sounds on “mmmmm” very gently.

    If you are in a meeting when this happens and there is music playing that has moved you, let the soft “mmmmm” sound come into a note in the music. Or, let the note from the music come into your voice and flow with the note. You don’t need words to do this and you don’t even need a whole ton of notes. Start by letting your emotional responses that result in the crying and moans you described shape your breathing by your desire to sing. Once your emotions have been “surrounded” by your slow steady breathing, then let the note release itself. The deep muscles that are activated in crying are the ones that we use in singing so this is a great way to get in touch with them for singing.

    And thanks for your comments about my approach to teaching. I have always believed that learning should be fun because people more easily absorb the important information they need if they enjoy the process.

    By the way, the muscles that we use in laughing are the same ones we use in crying and as I mentioned above, these are the muscles below the belly button that empower the voice so much!

    Keep me posted about your progress.


  • Joy ,


    I forgot to mention that I do teach over the internet. I will send you a separate email about the prices since I do not have the payment page set up on this site yet. I am working on another format for the site and the price page and signup forms will be included on that updated site. For now, I’ll send you an email and we can go from there.


  • Stuart Wheeler ,


    I appreciate you getting back to me; was beginning to wonder well, did I fall through the cracks. I figured that you’re quite busy. Since I’m not working and don’t have a family, time is all I have. For what it’s worth, I have for the past 20 years have held on to ministerial credentials of a non- denominational Florida based organization that has been in existence for quite a number of years reaching as far away as Africa and India; however, I am currently inactive as far as church work is concerned apart from hoping to sing someplace in a church choir. Which brought me to you…so, I’m back where I started in my search of lessons. God bless you, Joy. Rev. Stuart J. Wheeler. P.S. Continue to address me by my first name. Thanks.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Stuart,

    As promised, I sent you an email with the details about private lessons with me.

    If you do not see it, please check your spam file.


  • DinDanMee ,

    Hello! ๐Ÿ™‚ First of all, I am a fan of your videos and teaching all the way back since you uploaded your first video on youtube. They make me happy! Please continue what you do, you are an inspiration! I never really contacted you, since I was searching all the answers to my problems by myself and doing your exercises, but I figured I might aks you a question regarding one problem which sticks with me for years.

    Contrary to what I read very often from people, my voice is in the very best shape the minute I wake up in the morning. I am male (23) and my speaking voice is in the middle, not high, not low. Usually to warm up I do all sorts of crazy sirens, similar to the silly spinning siren you posted, and even sing in the shower all the crazy scales and trills. I can slide those sirens in a range of full 4 octaves, from the low bass F# to the high soprano F# and my voice feels free and unlimitied in the early morning. I also don’t feel difficulty doing it or holding any of the notes with a free fast vibrato and change of dynamics. Speech is easy to, and I can immitate an expressive voice-actor like tone, something like what you demonstrate in your latest shower video. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sadly, this state of my voice never lasts very long. It is there for some 2 hours and after, as the day progresses, singing and speaking just keeps getting harder, to the level that I sometimes in the evening can’t produce proper head voice at all, just a pushed breathy sound and my speech feels heavy as well. The interesting thing is that this happens independent of hydration, or how much I’ve been speaking or singing (voice usage) that day and where I’ve been. In fact, if I stay silent the whole day and sing only 1 minute every hour, the same thing happens and I can gradually notice myself loosing my free voice.

    Some people who heard me sing in the morning were extremely impressed by my singing, but what stops me from even entering a choir is the fact that my ability slowly fades away trough the day.

    If I had to describe how I feel the problem later in the day, it would be difficulty in acheeving phonation, or closing the vocal folds to phonate. While in the morning I can feel the smallest part of my head voice, the tiny sharp sound on which I base all the other sounds, in my whole range. In the evening I can produce a tone only if I try to push. It’s as if my cords aren’t able to close at all. Or as if something (maybe a tension) keeps them so opened and streched that it takes whole night of sleep for the state to improve completely.

    My first aim was analyzing what it could be. I suppose it is not a problem of a technical nature, because I don’t approach a tone in the morning any different than in the evening. It’s the inability of the voice to respond what is causing this. Because there is obviously a problem which happens in the daytime, something what causes it, which I don’t have in the night, when the voice recovers, my first guess was breathing, but I am not sure it is to be honest, because I don’t breathe in a shallow way, at least it doesn’t seem so to me, plus a singing teacher instructed me on breathing. But on the other hand maybe it is a problem, I don’t know anymore. I can’t really figure it out, I’ve tried eliminating various foods, drinking more water, drinking less water etc. in hope to find a variable which might be causing this but the same things always happens. And interestingly, if I take a nap in the afternoon, the condition does improve a bit in those 1-2 hours of sleep. So it’s definitely something what influences my voice while I am awake/standing/sitting/walking.

    Any ideas? Thank you in advance for your answer and again, continue what you do with your positive attitude. The world would be a happier place if more people would have half of your joy in their everyday life. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Joy ,


    Thank you for your kind words. It is wonderful to hear from you, especially since you have been following my Youtube videos for so long.

    You have done an excellent job of describing the vocal problem you are having and I have answered by giving you singing help in a post article that I wrote for that reason.

    Please read this post and then if you have more questions, write them in the comments section on that page.

    Thank you again for your encouraging words and please let me know if the answers I wrote in the article help you.


  • Deann Stevens ,

    Hi Joy,

    I ordered the lesson on the tongue (lesson 4) and I received an email with a password and a link for download. However, when I clicked on the link, I got the following error message:

    Not Found, Error 404
    The page you are looking for no longer exists. Perhaps you can return back to the site’s homepage and see if you can find what you are looking for. Or, you can try finding it with the information below.

    Can you please let me know how to get to the page and download the lesson?

    Thank you,

    Deann Stevens

  • Joy ,

    Hi Deann,

    Sorry about that inconvenience.

    We were working on the back end of the website last night and one of the links must have gotten changed without our realizing the results.

    My apologies. The problem is being fixed this morning and I will email you the link (I have already sent it!) that should now work. Please let me know if you have any problems with the download. It is a big file so it takes quite awhile to download.

    If you have any questions about the lesson or have other questions about your voice, I am here to help so be sure to get everything you can from me so that you can find new ways to Free Your Voice!

    Thanks for your understanding.

  • jo crowther ,

    Hi Joy
    do you have any advice about exercises to help gain an open throat to retract the false vocal folds to deconstrict the voice, especially when atttempting to sing higher notes. I still feel a tightness when i sing up my range towards high C….
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Jo,

    Good to hear from you but I am sorry you are experiencing difficulties.

    My first suggestion is what I tell everyone. It actually has to do with an informal policy of mine in my teaching, which is NOT to use complicated physiological terminology while learning how to free the voice from the kinds of tension you are describing.

    So, first free yourself from the complicated terminology.

    Next, think differently and focus on the upper area in your mouth rather than your vocal cords area.

    Most of all, and this may sound odd, but think about your high notes as being out in front of you rather than down in your vocal cords or “above” you.

    It’s interesting to me that you should write today about the very subjects I am working on at the moment for the upcoming affordable singing lessons launch, which is so close now I can smell the roses! I noticed that you are signed up to be notified when they launch, so keep watching because the lessons will truly begin soon if no major calamity hits. ๐Ÿ™‚

    What I am working on today is the 2nd lesson in the series and has to do directly with placement of your mindset first before you try to “place” the voice for high notes and it also has to do with understanding how sound actually works in the body and mind. We often get it all wrong and the more I prepare these lessons and get questions like yours and others, the more I realize how crucial the foundational principles are and how they need to be taught with much more simplicity than I see being used around me.

    The 1st lesson deals specifically with the “throat.”

    My goal is to launch the lesson series after I get the 2nd lesson completed and a few other minor tech issues worked out.

    I hope you will be able to take advantage of the lessons when I launch them, but for now, simplify your thinking process, forget about the false vocal folds,retraction, deconstrict, etc. and think about the high tones out in front of you instead of down in your vocal cords or above you.

    Did you watch the Free Your Voice Tip#8 – Your Brainy Voice? You should have received a link and password for it. Let me know if you have watched it or not.

    I hope that helps.

    Hang in there.

  • Joy ,

    Actually, I just changed the name of Lesson 2. It is now called “Spiral Tones” and I am getting very excited about the concept!

    When you sing the high notes, think of a spiral of sound going out in front of you. I know it sounds a bit different, but trust me, this thing is powerful for setting voices free, especially on the high tones.

  • aaron ,

    I just have a question.

    been singing constantly for 5 years.

    i have a LOT of phlegm, but ive been scoped many times and they always say my vocal cords are fine. my speaking voice tends to get tired, but my singing voice is seemingly fine. i never get raspy, i never have breaks in my voice, tone is always clear…

    i am not sure if i have allergies but every morning my nasopharynx is burning…i take prilosec every day and never feel heartburn, my bed is angled and i avoid eating late and avoid eating trigger foods.

    another concern, is after singing for 2 hours *my usual set time* or close to 20 songs, i find i sound hoarse, but the next day i am completely fine. if i try to sing really quiet my voice will just break, so i know the cords are swollen, but my technique is seemingly good since i don’t ever break or crack and it sounds really clear…

    kinda racking my brain over this.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for your trust in asking these important questions about your singing health.

    As you know, I am not a doctor or medical professional, but I will tell you what I would do if I was experiencing what you are describing.

    • If you have not already done so, read about the side effects of Prilosec (Omeprezole)
    • Ask your doctor if it is possible that you might be allergic to the medication and if the answer is yes, ask him how to test for it or give you other more natural alternatives to what other alternatives you might have for your condition.
    • If the underlying condition is GERD or the symptoms of GERD, then begin drinking a tea made from anise and fennel seeds after each meal. This aids the digestion process and helps to decrease the acid levels.
    • Another herb that helps to soothe the mucus tissues in the body is slippery elm bark powder. I use that when I feel the beginning symptoms of acid reflux.
    • Per the burning in the nasopharynx region, the very best thing I have found for ALL nasopharynx AND sinus problems is a simple medicated oil application daily (AM and PM). You can find a link for that medicated oil on my Herbs for Singing page. Look for the Nasya oil. It is the very best thing I have ever found for keeping my passages clear and soothed.

    Before we get into the other topics about hoarseness, etc., we will have to deal with the underlying issues that can cause this.

    If you feel confident in trying what I have recommended above, post back here and let me know what is happening.

    Let’s get your voice as free as we can.

    Thanks again for your trust,

  • Sathish Rao ,

    I came across your website and was impressed with the level of technical detail and analysis of the vocal chords and how hoarseness if developed for singers. I have been signing Indian classical music ever since I can remember. However, I have had serious problems with hoarse for half that time. I am in my early 40’s now, but every since my early 20’s I have had chronic sinusitis and reflux issues, which could have had a severe impact on my vocal chords. It could also have been the way I was vocalizing (the wrong way). I had my voice looked at back in 2003 and visited the voice institute in Pittsburgh. She really help me understand the importance of open throated singing. In addition I got a lot of good information from the complete Vocal Technique by Catherine Sadolin. Though I have changed the way I sing over the years and my sinus issues have improved, I have a constant hoarseness, even when I talk, especially in the mornings. It is very frustrating to have a cracking voice while speaking with business customers etc., at work. I am an engineer by profession and have a passion for Indian classical music. I am looking to see if somebody can help me determine if my problem is singing techinique or pre-existing vocal nodules or is it because of the constance post nasal drip. I am lost. Please help.

  • Sathish Rao ,

    I also wanted to state that I have very healthy habits. I drink a lot of water, exercise everyday, never drink caffeinated drinks (except for one cup of tea) or soda, I don’t drink any alcohol or smoke.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Sathish,

    Thank you for your kind words and your trust in asking me these questions.

    It sounds like you have done many good things to help your voice.

    However, since you are still having problems, it can be quite discouraging for you.

    I have had many people come to me over the years for help and have been happy to guide them into discovering ways to improve their voices, get rid of hoarseness and basically unlock the tensions that cause the hoarseness.

    And so I will first ask you if you have read any of my articles about Singing Mindsets? If not, follow the link and dig into that information. Each article should lead to other articles about this topic.

    The singing mindset is always the first place I start when I help someone.

    There is much more to all of this, but the starting point is always in your thoughts, so begin evaluating your attitudes and frustrations with your voice based on the mindsets first.

    Then we can tackle the hoarseness issue more effectively.

    Stay in touch with me and I will do all I can to help you.

    By the way, I love Indian classical music.

    And I know a little bit about Ayurvedic health practices too. We may find some answers for the hoarseness problem in that knowledge as well.

    All my best,

  • Diane ,

    Dear Joy,

    Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit. I just watched episode 4 of the “tongue mindset” video. There was mention of an additional voice lesson to help “getting the power of the words out” whilst using the techniques illustrated in the “tongue mindset” video.
    I am hoping that it will bridge the “blue lady” by demonstrating vocalises incorporating clean, un-modified vowels. If you could let me know which voice lesson that would be, I would love to download it.

    Thank you so much!

  • Joy ,

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you for your kind comments about the tongue lesson. I always appreciate it when people write to me to comment and ask questions.

    You asked about my mention of “getting the power of the words out” that comes at the end of the “blue lady” part of the tongue lesson.

    As it turns out, I am working on that episode at the moment. The series that it is part of โ€” “Your Tremendous Singing Voice (YTSV) โ€” is being created in a non-linear/non-chronological order and that is why it is not yet available.

    To be honest with you, I had some health issues that interrupted the completion of the creation of the YTSV series, however, I am fine now.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if you have made use of my 10 free Quick Tips?

    There is also a 3 month training course that is quite good. You may have taken a look at the page on my site that mentions it. If not, you can find it here: Fearless Voice Power.

    I will be letting people know about the YTSV episodes as they are completed, so be sure to let me know if I can help you with anything else while you wait.

    Thank you for your patience in this matter,

  • Diane ,

    Dear Joy,

    I am happy to hear that you are well. Your “blue lady” may have released my tongue tension once and for all..(I seem to have this bizarre tension only on D, Eb, E, sometimes F.. (obviously sop. passagio).. and typically on mostly the “Ah” vowel. I am looking forward to the lesson that will address the “blue lady”..that particular excersize was a great reminder as to what “open throat” really means. Are you in the Bay Area? I would love a live lesson.

    Many thanks,

  • Joy ,

    Hi Diane,

    The blue lady is happy to hear that she could help you with your singing tongue.

    I have a question for you: is the “bizarre tension” you speak about on the D, Eb, E and F in your upper range, middle or lower range?

    I’m not physically in the Bay area but I do give private lessons over Skype. If you are interested, let me know. I’ve worked with people all over the country and out of the country in this way and had good results.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

  • Josh ,

    Hi Joy,

    I was wondering about action step 3 where you say stick out the tongue do you mean straight out and forward horizontally or do you mean out with the bottom flush against your lower lips and further and the tip reaching down to try and reach the chin?

    Thank you!


  • Joy ,

    Hi Josh,

    That’s a good question and so that others will know what it is about, you are asking about one of the action steps from the “Singing Tongue” digital lesson, yes?

    The answer is “straight out and forward horizontally.” That being said, after you do that successfully for awhile, there is nothing to stop you from doing it the other way too. It won’t hurt anything and will deal with a slightly different part of the tongue. There are other variations too, so be creative. Just be careful not to over-strain the muscles.

    Slow, steady, subtle changes are what work best in the long run.

    Thanks for your trust and if you have anymore questions, ask away. That’s what I’m here for!

    Be well, sing well.

  • Cheng Yang ,

    My voice is really ugly thats what i feel and thats what i think and know and when i sing to people they mostly or always say im “okay” at singing or they will say “i don’t know” and give me answers like “its not good but then its not bad” i even record my voice hundreds of time i’ve try so many style when i sing and i sing in the most comfortable way i don’t want to be an okay singer i want to be great and be on fire and having that spark people that i sing to said “you don’t have the spark” or saying i’m only “okay” i don’t want to be okay i wanna have a awesome singing voice i’ve also took vocal lesson ever since 10/31/2014 it was like a private lesson and now i’m still taking vocal lesson but now i’m taking a online singing course right now i’m still training my voice but i still see no improvements and it’s been ever since 10/31/2014 till this day on 3/11/2015 i’m still not gonna give up on my dreams being a performer, star, and artist having that power means a lot to me i’m also doing this for someone i truly deeply love i don’t know what to really do much if i don’t have this dream come true i love to sing but i can never make some one love it or like it i wanna be a very well known singer and it seems like when i sing to people or anybody they seem like they get very irritated and they would sometimes give me this weird tired horrible look. well anyways i need help i’m tired of goin threw a same cycle and repeating history again and again i want a really good singing voice to become what i desire and what i love doing

  • Joy ,

    Hi Cheng,

    I got your survey with this question on it too, and sent you an email. Because the email will come from, it may end up in your spam folder, so if you donโ€™t see it in your Inbox, be sure to look for it.

    If you canโ€™t find the email, you can go into your private settings to add to your email addresses. If that doesnโ€™t work, privately email me and weโ€™ll try that.
    Whatever happens, get back to me. I am truly here to help you liberate your voice and break the cycle of repeating history.

    So, the first place we have to start is to completely forget about what other people say.
    The second thing we have to do is get to the bottom of the feeling you have about your voice, which you have said is โ€œreally ugly.โ€

    Why do you feel that it is ugly?

    Meanwhile, here is a quote from my ebook that I want you to ponder. Singing Through Life With Your Mouth Closed.

    “What are you searching for? To sing on a stage, before TV and movie cameras or for a recording deal? First sing in front of a mirror and face what you are singing to yourself.โ€

    This is where you must start to get rid of the thought that your voice is ugly.


  • Joy,

    This is more a message of severe appreciation than a question. I think you have provided me with the missing piece for my voice. I would love to share my story with you and anyone who may benefit from reading of my experiences.

    I have been a full time performer at Disney for 5 years in a rock cover band at Hollywood Studios performing 5 separate 30 minute shows a day. Playing keyboards and singing. Everyone in the band sings so we take singing lead in turn but there are a lot of harmonies too.

    Over the years I took some vocal lessons to improve my range. I was so overjoyed when I was able as a male to hit some tenor notes consistently and with length – high Cs, reaching Ds and Es if necessary. I started to take on more and more of the higher vocal material and my sound was clear and pure.

    Over time (1-2 years maybe) I started to feel some tension in my muscles surrounding my vocal cords. I thought I was just overdoing it and so gave myself more time to rest, took a few more days off here and there. The tension increased until I eventually went to see a specialist. Had a small polyp in the high register. Took a long break and the polyp healed naturally which I was very happy about.

    So my situation now is that the show at Disney has ended. I am under no obligations to sing but I still would love to be able to sing if only for pleasure throughout my life. I have been in the process of retraining my vocal abilities. Still feeling some tension when singing or speaking a lot and have not regained my full vocal range. I was practicing what I knew from past lessons in the mirror today and saw my adams apple moving a lot which is when I became curious and found your site through Google.

    These techniques you are offering seem to be the key piece for me. Am I right in saying that with mastery of the adams apple technique there should be no muscular tension regardless of the amount or range I sing? Obviously within reason…

    Regardless I am so thankful to have some techniques to practice that I think will lead me to what I’m looking for so thank you so much for offering these to us publicly!!


  • Singing Master ,


    I offer my sincere apologies for not being able to answer your excellent questions more quickly.

    My site (and other sites that I have too) was horribly hacked in the last year and it has taken me this much time to recover from all the damage done, so I am incredibly grateful to be back here and able to help people more again.

    About your Adam’s apple. Yes, the mastery of relaxing the area around the Adam’s apple, and also the “singing tongue” area, for the tongue muscle as a lot to do with tension around the Adam’s apple too.

    Here’s a link to a page on my website that has a number of articles about the importance of knowing how to utilize the power of your singing tongue in ways that will develop your voice more powerfully while releasing the kinds of tensions that cause vocal fatigue and hoarseness.

    I hope you stay in touch. You seem like a really nice person who enjoys giving of yourself to make other people happy.

  • Lucy Padgett ,

    please reply to my comment the gig is tonight and I really need help

  • Singing Master ,


    Sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you. See my answer to your earlier question.


  • Marsha ,

    When I came home from hospital stay of 11 days in 2014 I could not breathe, and required oxygen. Not wanting to become dependant on it, I took your advice back then too. It does work! Any exercise is better than dependency on oxygen!

  • Singing Master ,


    You absolutely humble me in every good sense of the word. Singing and health are vitally linked, and I just want to say how grateful I am for you actually taking my advice and getting the kind of results you describe. This makes my work worthwhile! Thanks again, and if I can help in any other way, please let me know!

  • Brooke ,

    Hey, my name is Brooke, I am 14 years old and I have a dream to be a singer. I love the idea of performing in front of thousands of people, exploring the world on tours and having perfect choreo to go with it. Two years ago, I had the lead part, and I had a solo song, True Colors. I rocked every single night, I loved it and enjoyed it, and I loved getting to act on a broad way type thing. It was so much fun, not once did I think about what other’s thought. I went on to win talent quest with the song Eyes Wide Open by Sabrina Carpenter. The next year, at camp, we had this skit night thing, and our group was doing a talent show. I was to sing a song by Sabrina Carpenter. But I mucked up, and told our teacher to start the song again. I mucked up again, embarrassing myself in front of all of my classmates and teachers, who even agreed that wasn’t my normal self. Everything went downhill from there, every time I went to perform, even just in front of the class, my vocals would shake, my brain would go all funny, I’d be constantly thinking about what other’s were thinking. I used to never be afraid to perform, but I don’t know how to get rid of it. I failed two acts in talent quest this year, and I am over it, I just want to perform. My vocal range can scale into whistle register, and I am inspired by Ariana Grande.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for contacting me with your singing problem.

    I sure know how it feels to mess up in front of others. I did too, when I was about 10 years old at a piano recital where it was going to be announced that I would get the prize for the year for being the best student and performer.

    In the middle of the piece my mind went blank for the first time ever, and I ran off the stage.

    The great thing that happened is that my teacher and my mom found me and coaxed me into getting back up there and finishing the piece. I did. I started from the beginning and got all the way through it.

    What I learned is that we will all muck up at times in our lives. The key is to realize it’s part of being human to do that, and then work with your mind to allow yourself to forgive yourself and move on to becoming what you know you can be.

    Read more here about that story and how you can help yourself.

    Then get back to me with more questions. I’m here to help you sing freely!


  • Katie ,

    Hi Joy,
    Iโ€™ve been having problems with my singing voice ever since I had voice lessons about 12 years ago. I felt like I was pushed to sing too high & it was uncomfortable. Also the teacher was trying to eliminate breathiness & give my voice volume. But I am afraid that I instead learned bad techniques. My throat often tightens up without my control & then feels sore. Iโ€™m concerned about voice injury because I tend to feel discomfort after singing for awhile or if I try to hit high notes. I love to sing in choir, but the long practices and challenging high notes leave me with a hoarse voice.
    Should I be concerned about voice injury? Someone recommended I see a speech pathologist, but I donโ€™t exactly know what they test or how they treat. Iโ€™ve been trying to learn more.
    In the meantime, would you recommend I stop singing to prevent further irritation? I really want to sing in the Christmas choir! But I know every year, the choir singing seems to cause my voice worse & longer lasting discomfort. I want to be wise if I need to correct or heal something first.
    Iโ€™ve been reading your website, and I am interested in what you might think of my situation.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for writing.

    If you are getting hoarse from singing, it may be a number of things.

    I am not a medical doctor, but I have helped many people get over hoarseness and the tensions that can cause vocal injury. Once, I even helped someone get rid of polyps on their vocal cords without him having to get medically recommended surgery. He took my advance, changed some vocal habits, and the polyps went away.

    Usually hoarseness happens because of some kind of tension in the voice. From you explain, it sounds like you need some help changing the vocal things that happened 12 years ago that made you feel like you were pushed too much.

    Take care of those vocal cords!

  • Tamaira Kirby ,

    Is your singing voice supposed to sound like you’re talking voice.Ive had this on my mind for months.My singing doesn’t match my talking voice,theres a slight difference,is that a bad thing,my voice doesn’t sound bad at all.I don’t want to change my voice,im very happy with it.Are people gonna tell me that “your supposed to sing with your talking voice”.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Tamaira,

    Thanks for your question. It’s an important one.

    Here’s an article I wrote about the singing and speaking voice that you may find helpful
    7 Singing Truths from 1911

    And keep asking questions. I’m here to help you!

    You deserve to be heard,

  • Kell Brigan ,

    I recently started singing lessons and hope to become involved in a capella groups. It’s been a while since I’ve sung regularly (I’m 59), so I started taking private lessons. So far, it appears I can sing decently, i.e. on pitch, clearly, with decent volume, from B2 (yes, really) to B4. We’re working on getting my range up to include C4 & D4, but my voice just isn’t strong enough yet. Should I be happy about my range or ??? It looks like I’ve got a decent range even though I’m rusty, but I’m even below Contra Alto. Is this good or bad or ??? I’ve heard most choirs usually need altos. Would I qualify for Second even though it’s rough for me to get up to C4? Do I have a place in this great big, crazy world? Is there anything in that little black bag for me..? Thx.

  • Kell Brigan ,

    (That should be “…up to C5 & D5.”)

  • Hi

    I am 80 years old and have recently had the time to check out my voice. I am Robetson but 1/2 octave lower (down to C below low C). I can sing with varying quality voices. I have limited energy but have performed in an open mike situation in my area and what reactions. I hope to put my version of Ol Man River on U Tube. My biased opinion is that it is better (more dynamics) then any version I have heard. I am singing in a bad chorus since it is within 1/2 mile. I sing using a light quality voice which with lessons I now can get to middle E. I have sung Summertime in my light quality voice and get major compliments but a voice coach shows me that I do (can?) not sing with good technique when I use that quality and I easily lose my voice. I do not know if I belong in a chorus since my very bass baritone is not used properly. What should I do?

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Kell,

    Thanks for writing to me about your voice.

    About your questions, what does your voice teacher tell you?

    I am not a choir teacher, but I have conducted choirs.

    This I can tell you: there is always a place for you in the “great big, crazy world.”

    I don’t know what you mean by the “little black bag” though.

    Keep singing no matter what!

    You deserve to be heard,

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Neil,

    First of all, hats off to you for continuing to sing and wanting to keep growing in your understanding of your voice.

    Here is something you can do for the technique part. If you haven’t done so already, get my 10 FREE Singing Quick Tips. They may give you a new perspective about what you might want to do next.

    About the choir, I can’t answer that because I haven’t heard them and don’t know what the director is doing, so I stay away from trying to give advice about something I cannot evaluate first hand.


  • Hi

    What would you call a voice that can easily slide from C1 to E4 (struggling with the last note but on pitch)? But can also sing in many qualities of voice in a much more limited range. For example I can sound like an operatic tenor but only up to about D3. I can sound like a Baso Prof undo but only up to about A3. I can sound like an operatic Baritone but only from about (C2?) to D3. I can sound like a light tenor starting at about A3 and ending at E4. This is true because my light tenor and my falsetto are more or less continuous. I do not know where I go into falsetto since the sound does not change and my brain is on automatic pilot but a voice coach showed me that I easily can sing in my light tenor at F3 (she is improving my falsetto (and increasing the range of my light tenor?) so this is now true). I sing in an old people chorus (80 years old) but I like my voice as a soloist. I only know 3 songs (can fake a lot) to my satisfaction Summertime (light tenor ending by going 1 octave up (A4?) at the end). And This is My Beloved (operatic tenor with some Baritone quality for the lowest notes). And Ol Man River. My Ol Man River has been said to be better than Robeson since I can switch the quality of my voice and make the Black complain much more effectively than a straight Bass. I decided to only go down to F1 in Ol Man River since I can keep the Bass sound in the introduction and still use a Baritone when I go up in pitch and end with (I do the movie version) a tenor bell like sound. I hope to get these 3 songs on U Tube any suggestions?

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your questions. It sounds like you have a lot of possibilities going on, but without hearing your voice, it would be premature for me to try and give any suggestions. What does your voice coach tell you about your desire to put the 3 songs you mentioned on YouTube?

    Sing well, be well,